by George J Elbaum
The Seven Hills School, founded in 1962 on nine park-like acres of former ranchland, is an independent day school educating almost 400 students in preschool through 8th grade. Its stated mission is “to develop the intellect, engage the spirit and foster respect for and responsibility to our world.” On its beautiful grounds or its modern classrooms “one might see on any day Shakespeare performed or Beethoven rehearsed; a rocket launched or a volleyball serve perfected.” With a student-to-faculty/staff ratio of about 6, the school augments its excellent academics and athletics with a robust after-school enrichment program, and its 4th-8th grade students rank above the 90th percentile in ERB testing.
My presentation was to the 8th grade classes of history/humanities teacher Michael Sandberg and Assistant Headmaster Scott Espinosa-Brown, who teaches a “restorative justice” course. The students were currently one month into an in-depth project on the Holocaust and genocide, which culminates with each student producing a web-based report on some aspect of the Holocaust and an oral presentation to the class. (The web-based reports of the 2010 and 2011 Holocaust Projects are shown on http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11556412/sites/shshistory/index.html.) Michael Sandberg is also a member of the Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves, and he and Jack Weinstein of Facing History arranged my presentation.